Eagan’s first city administrator retires after 36 years
Officials say Tom Hedges’s legacy will remain
Eagan’s first and only city administrator, Tom Hedges, has said he will retire after 36 years.
Hedges announced his resignation — effective Feb. 1 — during the Sept. 19 City Council meeting.
“This is a great community and it has been a wonderful ride over the past 36 years,” the 63-year-old Eagan resident said. “Now I’m looking forward to having more flexibility in my life.”
Hedges said his retirement will give him an opportunity to spend more time with his wife, Debbie, who retired from nursing earlier this year, and their children and grandchildren.
Eagan City Council members, saddened by the news, praised Hedges for his work in the city and noted that he will leave a legacy.
“You helped create the Eagan culture and the Eagan way,” Council Member Paul Bakken said to Hedges on Wednesday. “You have been instrumental in so much of Eagan.”
Hedges was hired as Eagan’s first city administrator in 1976 and was handed the task of helping the community convert from a township to a city. In the following two decades, Hedges was responsible for positioning the city to accommodate significant growth.
When Hedges started in the late 1970s, Eagan was a relatively small suburb with a population of 19,000 people, which exploded during the 1980s and 90s.
Since then, the city’s population has grown to 65,000 residents and a number of major companies call Eagan home.
Hedges started his career in St. Peter in 1972 shortly after completing graduate school at age 23.
“It was a great opportunity to grow in that position,” Hedges said.
Hedges has received numerous awards from his peers in city administration, including the 2011 Minnesota Government Communicator of the Year award and the 2001 Manager of the Year Award from the Minnesota City and County Management Association.
Hedges has also received several awards over the years for his community outreach efforts, including the Career Development Award in 1985 from the International City and County Management Association and the Outstanding Mentor/Manager in 2000 from the Minnesota Association of Urban Management.
Both awards recognized Hedge’s dedication to mentoring teens and young adults who are interesting in pursuing a career in public service. Over the past three decades, Hedges has mentored more than 40 people who went on to become city managers or department directors.
The city authorized Brimeyer Fursman, a Maplewood executive search firm, to begin efforts to find suitable candidates to fill Hedges position. City officials expect to select a final candidate by early 2013.
Although Hedges plans to retire early next year, he said he may not step entirely away from the field. After traveling a bit, he said, he may serve as an independent consultant.